Man Sized Beef Chili – Not one for the girls.

Beef chili (14 of 14)If you are female, don’t even bother reading any further. If you are male and happen to be a bit effeminate, go with the girls. If you are offended by the first two sentences, don’t think about reading on. If you happen to be a hermaphrodite, it’s your call. Just be warned, this is man’s stuff.

I would like to tell you that I had boiled this up in an old oil drum somewhere in the backwoods. That might be stretching veracity a bit. I would like to say I had just finished a high intensity session of weightlifting and general grunting in the gym. This would also be a reality extender. In truth, my Mum was unavailable for our regular Sunday Dinner. So, I was free to make a manly meal. The Wife agreeing, however reluctantly, that this Manly Beef Chili could be toned down with a bit of yoghurt.

I went through my chilli supply and picked out some chipotle, ancho, chilli de arbol and New Mexico (X Hot). I used a few of each. That’s the manly thing to do. Girls would have left out half the hot stuff.

The Other Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilos of good beef chunks (shin is best)
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bell peppers
  • .5 kilo of smoked bacon lardons
  • .5 litre of beef stock
  • .5 litre of beer
  • Flour to dust the beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of anchito paste
  • 2 bay leaves
Plenty of flavour but not too many ingredients. Manly, or what?

Plenty of flavour but not too many ingredients. Manly, or what?

First, fry the lardons in the casserole to release their oil and flavour. Spoon them out, leaving the oil behind.

The lardons will add flavour, oil and nice small bits of meaty taste.

The lardons will add flavour, oil and nice small bits of meaty taste.

Dust the beef with the flour and fry it in the base of a large casserole.

The brown stuck on bits are good. They turn into thickening beef flavour.

The brown stuck on bits are good. They turn into thickening beef flavour.

While the beef is browning, slice the onions. Then add hot water to the chilis in a big bowl. Use about half a litre of boiling water.

Let them soak for 20 minutes. The water is getting cooler and hotter at the same time.

Let them soak for 20 minutes. The water is getting cooler and hotter at the same time.

Pour the chilis and water into a blender and mix to make a thick sauce.

This is the flavour heart of this manly, man-sized chilli.

This is the flavour heart of this manly, man-sized chilli.

The chilli sauce turns into a thick, rich, pungent, throat hacking half litre of deliciousness.

The blending releases a choking aroma. Put the girls and any small animals out of the kitchen.

The blending releases a choking aroma. Put the girls and any small animals out of the kitchen.

Even the most manly of us will gasp at the aromas emanating from the chilli sauce. Cough your way to the cooker and take the beef out of the casserole. Replace with the onions and turn the heat down to sweat them.

The onions will add a lovely aroma to the gaseous cough inducing chilli in the kitchen.

The onions will add a lovely aroma to the gaseous cough inducing chilli in the kitchen.

When they are sweated down, add the roughly chopped (you did chop them didn’t you?) bell peppers. Cook them until they too go a bit soft. Add the beer. Next add back the beef and the lardons, add in the beef stock, the teaspoon of anchito paste and the bay leaves. Cover your nose and pour in the chilli gloop.

The chilli gloop will add a huge amount of flavour and colour to the dish.

The chilli gloop will add a huge amount of flavour and colour to the dish.

Bring the whole lot to the boil. Turn it down and simmer it while the oven is reaching 180ºC. Place a lid on the casserole and pop it in the oven. Leave it there for an hour and a half, minimum. Take it out of the oven and check for flavour, and thickness of the sauce. It needs to be very thick, very hot and layered with different chilli flavours. Reduce it and season it on the stove-top until it is right.

Place some of it in a serving bowl. Surround it with bowls of hot dried chilis and take some photos. Be sure to pour a beer as, when you eat it, you will need the beer. You may also need a towel to mop your manly brow and the back of your thick neck. This one is a belter. If you are a big girl’s blouse, add a dash of yoghurt to cool it off (like I did, in the end).

Hold on to the top of your head. Otherwise, you might just blow it off.

Hold on to the top of your head. Otherwise, you might just blow it off.

This was hot, very hot. But, it was also very flavoursome and had real depth of chilli flavours. Man up and give it a go.

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Latest comments
  • I probably should be offended but you just made me laugh out loud. Not bad for a Tues morning! This looks amazing. I am the chilli lover in our house but I think that sauce might beat me. I’ll just give back my Yorkie and join the other girls in the yard 🙂

    • Probably the right decision Donna. I’ll be with you, spooning yoghurt to beat the band.

  • Not sure that either of us are man enough to try this recipe – but this was a great read. W&R

    • Thanks for visiting and for commenting. It is a bit of a belter but, that’s no harm, I think!

  • Hi, Conor. I’m genetically unsound…..use my own power tools, make things, fitted my own kitchen, tiled it, etc.etc. D’you think you could make an exception for me on the ‘girl’ bit????😆

    • Only if you wear a tool belt and hard hat when you are doing the shopping!

  • My father would have loved this. (And my niece, even before she turned age ten, would have enjoyed all the heat.) Me, yeah, I’d probably halve the heat…

    • That niece of yours sounds like a piece of work. I like it hot but, I have had a few decades to dull my senses. She must be made of copper.

  • Manly, harummph! We do love a spicy chili. And if I have a cold, it better be spicy! Great recipe.

    • The spice is a great way to move a cold along, Virginia. Thanks for that indeed.

  • This looks amazing. Believe it or not but my mom wants to try it while my dad is holding on to her skirt in fear. Snorts with piggy laughter. XOXO – Bacon

    • Tell him to Man Up. In cycling (of which I do a bit), there is a Rule #5 – “Man the f**k up.”. It may have application here.
      Thanks for visiting and for the funny comment.
      Best,
      Conor

      • Snorts with piggy laughter. I like that rule. I plan on telling him that when mom gets home. I’ll let you know how it goes over. XOXO – Bacon

  • That looks delicious. I love a good chili – mine has evolved over the years and I currently add a hot chorizo ring (chopped) and some hot smoked paprika to the beef 🙂

    • You are a mad thing for the heat MD. I suspect the depth of flavour would be excellent from that. I must add it to the list of things to throw in. I see Richard McGary suggesting coffee and chocolate below. The mind boggles.

      • The paprika definitely provides great depth, especially if it’s smoked 🙂

  • Great post Conor. Always glad to see you breaking out the chile supply. With the chile de arbor, chipotle and New Mexico X Hot, you were really packing heat on this one. I love the color and consistency of the chili and I’m sure the flavor was fabulous. Also very nice plating shot.

    When the volcano in your belly calms down, the next time you decide to make chili you might want to try a little chocolate or coffee. You will need to add a little sugar to soften the earthy bitters of the chocolate or coffee just a touch. I love the added depth of flavor and additional character the chocolate adds. Lee Hogg had one of the DFW Chefs, Tim Bryes, in Malta about a month ago. He convinced her to try espresso in her chili and she loved it. While chocolate and coffee are not traditional chili ingredients, their addition will amaze you.

    • Thanks Richard. High praise indeed from the High Plains of Texas! Eldest Daughter’s other half suggested some good quality chocolate too. I promise to give it a go. I did use coffee in a sous vide beef cheeks recipe (posted a few weeks back) and it was very tasty indeed. So many variations, so little time!
      I hope you and Baby Lady are both in top form.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Well, that’ll put hairs on your chest (and burn off the ones in your nose). Looks fabulous. Him Outdoors would love it and maybe he’d let me have a bit of his if I asked nicely.

    • Do the decent thing Linda. Cook it for him.

  • Well, I’m not offended and you didn’t scare me away. I LOVE beef and bacon and hot chilies. However, I don’t like to drink beer, but I don’t mind cooking with it. What a great addition to this “Man Chili”… I always learn something from you, that is why I don’t run away by your remarks… 😉

    • Hi Debbie,
      If I though anybody would take me seriously, I wouldn’t post this nonsense. I hope you enjoyed reading it and will enjoy cooking it up there in the Mountain Kitchen.
      Best,
      C

  • Looks Good. What is anchito paste? Where can buy it? We’re about to eat our chilli dinner, made with ground beef and Schwartz hot chilli mix cos we’ve eaten all the ones we grew this year.

    • Achiote paste is crushed achiote (annatto) seed mixed with vinegar, salt, garlic and other spices (i.e. oregano, corriander seed, cumin, black pepper, etc.). It originated in the Yucatan and is the base for Cochinita Pibil (a slow roasted suckling pig coated in achiote paste, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit). It is readily available commercially and comes in a small dry yet moist brick. It looks like Conor used El Yucateco brand achiote paste. It is not hot but full of flavor.

  • Kees is not man enough for this much heat, so when I make something like this I have to tone it down quite a bit. Great post, Conor. You get bonus points from Richard for using the achiote paste and the X Hot NM chiles.

    • Thanks Stefan. Richard has taught us that you can have a lot of heat AND lovely complex flavours. It was pretty good and I look forward to going again, with coffee and chocolate.

      • Beef and coffee is on my list, too. I have added cocoa powder to oxtail stewed in tomatoes before (coda alla vaccinara, a recipe from Rome).

        • It doesn’t immediately strike me as a thing to do. But, that’s as good a reason to try it as there is. We dined in the Benalmedena Cookery School, in Spain, twice and years apart. http://www.laconsula.com/en/
          There is a set menu (very good indeed). On both occasions, we were served pork in chocolate sauce. I have to say, I really did not enjoy it the first time. Nor the second time for that matter. However, it is a wonderful place.

          • I can imagine you didn’t enjoy pork in chocolate sauce. Just a hint of chocolate is nice with red meat like beef or hare.

          • Thanks be to goodness. I thought it was just me and that it was some kind of delicacy. When I checked with the Wife’s parents who lived down there, they had never had it despite eating there regularly. Just lucky, I guess!

      • Thanks Conor & Stefan. 🙂 Watching you guys playing with the chiles tickles me. I’m really glad you enjoy them.
        Conor, with the quantity of chili you made you only want a hint of chocolate. I would recommend using 1/2 tsp of freshly ground cacao nibs as opposed to powdered coco. What you are looking for is a hint of chocolate on the back end. Because of the slight bitterness of the chocolate and the earthiness of the chiles, you add a pinch of sugar to mellow things out. Also, surprisingly, the addition of the sugar tends to bring out the chocolate. Mole (mo-lay) is a combination of chiles (ancho, pasilla nego, and mulato), nuts, chocolate and spices that is wildly popular in Mexico, Texas and Southwestern US (notice how Texas is so large it has its own region? 😀 ). The combination of chocolate and chile dates back to pre-Columbian days in Mexico. Anything that has survived that long has to be good. 😉

        • Thanks indeed Richard. You opened a whole new world with that parcel. We have an excellent Mexican store here in Dublin and the Internet makes a lot of this stuff easy. I promise to experiment. It’s fun!

  • So hearty and flavorful! I can imagine how tender the meat is. You could definitely try a hit of coffee or cocoa with the chiles, common in New Mexico, where we used to live. This looks so delicious. Love the yogurt idea. I did continue reading despite my unfortunate chromosomal situation. 🙂

    • Brave of you Shanna. However, any woman who has lived in New Mexico gets a free pass. You are used to the ear popping heat. I will give the cocoa and coffee a go in something beefy, very soon.

  • What is it with men and chillies? I like a spicy dish as well as the next one, but I find too much heat scorches off my taste buds and I lose the flavour. That said, I think the flavours you’ve got going on here definitely bear a wimpy, girly investigation.

    • Man up there Kate! One can always sneak in the yoghurt if things get unbearable.

      • Will it help if I wear my steel toecap boots and tool belt?

        • Yes Kate, of course. A yellow hardhat would help too and safety goggles and a face mask. In fact, given the power of the chilis, the face mask is almost de rigueur.

  • This sounds delicious. I would include the beef but tone down the spice, as when I can’t feel my tongue I tend to stop eating, and what would be the point of that?

    • That is a good approach. However, with the range of chilis, this is hot but with lots of different flavours.

  • OK Conor, I am a bonafide natural-born Texan, so bring on the heat! I can handle pretty much any chile pepper, except for an over-abundance of habaneros. When I make my chile too hot my husband uses sour cream instead of yogurt, because he thinks yogurt is a sissy ingredient, lol. I like to sweat when I eat, and when I do, I drink beer for sure. So there!

    • You are a hard woman Kathryn. I feel chastised on the yoghurt front. Sour cream would be excellent too. But, we always have yoghurt in the fridge.

      • No offense to you Conor on the yogurt, but my husband has no sense of adventure when it comes to trying to make anything a bit healthier or low-fat.

  • There is no messing there, for sure! I love the 2 bottles of “Kro” in the picture 🙂

    • They went into the chili. Others went into the chef as he sweated his way through a ‘bowl of red’.

  • This sounds scary and I would not dare touch it. Zambian food is generally ‘bland’ and I only recently started eating hot stuff, but definitely not this hot! 🙂 However, a Thai girlfriend of mine would enjoy it as she loves her food so hot that tears run down her face as she is eating. I suppose she is a man disguised as a woman?

    • Zambian Lady, it’s too long since you commented here. Great to see you back. I would be careful around your friend. I suspect you may be right. Though, obviously not a very manly man, if he wears a dress and cries a lot. (Thanks for making me laugh)
      Best,
      Conor

  • Nice chilli .. Think it’s for everyone though ✌️

    • The girls are always welcome. It’s just that they tend to complain more. The blokes suffer and sweat in silence (quiet whimpering).

  • I enjoyed this immensely, Conor, but am toying with the idea of waking up tomorrow and taking it literally, just for the craic, like. It’s been ages since I’ve done fake Internet outrage and I’m overdue. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Hell yes! Love chili and love spicy and of course MEAT. 🙂 This looks fantastic and I may just have to give it my spin. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Thanks Tony,
      Great to see you here. Do give it a whirl. It is very tasty.

  • Extraordinary. I’d just been saying to Rosemary “Cooking in Sens” that, although I eat very little meat, I remember good chilli as having chunks of meat and not minced stuff. Glad to see you agree and your chilli looks fantastic…

    • Thanks Roger, I love to do it with chunks and a bit of minced too for added texture. That one was a bit of a belter and all the better for it. It’s getting into the season for it, as you know.

  • I agree with Roger. For me, the most tempting ingredient in your chili is the beef being cut and not minced. Not so sure if I could take the heat, though. I’m doing better with spice than before but this still may be a chili too far.

    • In truth, John, there is a deal of heat but there is layer after layer of delicious flavour too.

  • I like the bay leaves in the photo. Those pour little suckers don’t look like they stand a chance next to all those chillis.

    • I wonder if they actually add anything to this. Though, despite the heat, it is another layer of flavour to confuse the tastebuds.

  • Well I read your post anyway despite your warning, MR. Bofin, and … damn, is that *hair* sprouting on my chest now? I’m sure there really would be if I even attempted to make, let alone eat, this chili. Sadly, I find I can’t taste anything at all after my taste buds have been scorched off, so will pass like a girl on this one and go make quiche or something equally effete instead. 😉

    • Quich! Don’t mention the word within earshot of a manly man. (Though, a nice one can be very tasty).
      Love the comment. Though I had to avoid thinking about chest hair!
      Best,
      Conor

  • Nice work Conor. That first paragraph is effing gold. Just gold!

    • Thank you! I enjoyed writing it. Delighted you enjoyed reading it too. I hope the restaurant continues to thrive. It looks like my kind of food you are doing there. Hard work, as I’m sure you know by now.
      Best,
      Conor

      • Hard work indeed my friend but all for a very worthy cause. Could not be happier! Cheers Conor 👍

  • I love the idea of using stew meat as opposed to ground meat. I think it gives chili more purpose to say the least. There is greater texture in the dish, and you don’t have to go loading the chili with so many other ingredients.

    • I find that a bit of both does the trick some ground adds a bit of texture while the larger chunks are delicious.
      Thanks for visiting and for commenting.
      Best,
      Conor

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